House rejects amendment to trade redistribution cards
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland – The Maryland House of Delegates on Tuesday rejected an amendment that would have swapped the Congressional redistribution plan of the Democratic-led legislative committee for that of the governor’s Citizens’ Committee.
The amendment, sponsored by Del. Jason Buckel, R-Allegany, reportedly changed HB1 to use a map from the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, organized and supported by Gov. Larry Hogan, R, rather than a map from the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission, headed by the Democratic leadership of the general Assembly.
The legislative map is widely seen as more partisan and creates a more difficult district for the state’s only Republican in Congress, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Cockeysville to hold.
The citizen redistribution plan was presented to the House as HB2 and did not receive a vote from the House Rules and Executive Appointments Committee in a joint hearing on Monday.
The debate on the amendment ended with the advancement of the legislative committee’s initial redistribution plan in the chamber and was lively on both sides.
Republicans questioned the quality of the Legislative Committee’s map and praised the Citizens’ Committee process, which Republicans and some outside observers called more fair.
Democrats have defended the legality of the legislative committee and their card’s commitment to communities of interest.
Communities of interest is a concept used in redistribution to explain groups of people who share political or cultural ties, even if they are not part of a city or county.
Buckel, who served on the Legislative Committee, questioned the compactness of the districts on the Legislative Committee’s map and in particular whether the people living in Montgomery County near Washington, DC, were part of a community of ‘interests with those living near the Pennsylvania border.
âIf it is a community of interest, we are all in a great community of interest in the state of Maryland,â Buckel said.
Buckel also praised the work of the citizens’ commission and Gov. Larry Hogan, R, for choosing to create an independent, non-partisan commission.
Buckel looked back on what he said was a time when voters chose their representatives.
âWhat the rules have changed nowâ¦ instead, we choose every 10 years who we can represent,â Buckel said.
On the Democratic side, Del. CT Wilson, D-Charles, defended the use of a legislative committee to work on the redistribution of Congress.
âThe governor’s card has been respected. He had an audience. He just didn’t get what he wanted, âWilson said. âThis does not mean that the process is interrupted. “
Wilson called the changes the legislative committee made to the 2011 congressional map dramatic, but stressed that while the map was controversial, it was considered legal.
Also in the debate, Del. Susan Krebs, R-Carroll, asked if the legislative committee had a clear and public set of criteria for drawing their map and del. Lauren Arikan, R-Harford and Baltimore Counties claimed history would judge the Legislature for adopting a map for the wrong reasons.
Hogan created the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission earlier this year; it included three Democrats, three Republicans and three unaffiliated voters.
The Legislative Redistribution Advisory Commission included four Democratic members of the Legislative Assembly, two Republican members and President Karl Aro, former head of legislative services.
HB1 still needs a final vote in the House of Delegates. If passed, it will need a vote in the Senate Reallocation and Redistribution Committee to move forward in this chamber.
The House also took a litany of veto waivers on Tuesday, on everything from public transit funding to going wages.
The debate on HB16, a bill to ban “immigration detention by private entities” agreements, was particularly busy, with a discussion of racism and xenophobia, as well as the financial impact. Bill.
The House voted to override the veto on HB16, 90 votes to 49.
The House also voted to overturn the veto on a bill to establish collective bargaining rights for community college employees, after the Senate voted to overturn it on Monday.
The Senate met briefly on Tuesday morning and met again on Tuesday afternoon. At the time of publication, the House was scheduled to meet again on Tuesday evening.
This article was originally published on CNSMaryland.org on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.